Abuse of drugs particularly among older adults is becoming on the rise and as such, recognizing drug problems in adults is very critical. The dynamic physical and common changes that accompany getting old makes the adults susceptible to drugs and the problems that are related to it. For example, the loss of loved ones such as children and relatives, depression that comes from retirement especially with financial issues may cause the adult to seek self-medication by using illicit drugs to cure their anxiety or despair.
Similarly, the consequence of substance abuse may be related to health associated problems and medications, hence, there is a need to be properly aware of the forms of substance abuse among older adults and be conscious of the possibility that physical problems such as accidents may originate from the excessive abuse of drugs and other substances. Inappropriate use of substance may range from using higher doses for longer periods of time due to the intense need to solve a particular health condition, using the medications for frivolous means such as for their mood fluctuating effect.
Although, illicit drug abuse is less common among older adult than the younger ones, substance abuse poses a serious risk to the lives of the older ones particularly when the use is very excessive. Due to the process of ageing, older adults are exposed to psychological changes and the beginning of a number of health issues. Also, they may not be able to absorb and process drugs as effective as younger adults, and thereby placing them on an increased threat of overdose or abuse of a particular drug.
Adults are at a more alarming rate of experiencing conditions such as chronic pain, sleeplessness or insomnia and mental health problems such as anxiety or nervousness. Therefore because of this, prescription drugs such as narcotics are usually given to older patients in increasingly high numbers. Due to this exposure to such drugs, there is a high tendency of abuse and a risk of developing problems and later become addict to such drugs.
It is important to know that substance abuse in older adults could be classified as a hidden problem, because sometimes, symptoms derived from the abuse could be related to their ageing conditions. Likewise, many adults are isolated from family members and friends and they are no longer people engaged in their normal day to day lives. Also, several health conditions that is common amongst older ones may cover the symptoms of addiction.